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Berserker Imperial Stout | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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Berserker Imperial StoutBerserker Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.70%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Vicious and viscous, this menacing brew pours opaque black with a creamy maduro-colored head. Its aroma offers seductive whiskey, chewy red wine, dark fruit and lavish tobacco. Berserker Imperial Stout invades your taste buds with in-your-face flavor. Weighing in at almost 13% alcohol by volume, Berserker is completely out-of-control. Give it a good fight. Berserker Imperial Stout was aged in both red wine and whiskey barrels.

Original release of Berserker was at 10.4%, subsequent vintages have gone upwards of 12.7%. When reviewing, please list beer vintage and that vintage's specific ABV.

30 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2005

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Reviews: 289 | Ratings: 1,151
Photo of grumpy
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My tastebuds inform me that this stuff is up there with Dark Lord and The Abyss – the best of the best. It’s all there in large quantities. Nice dark, thick appearance. Wonderful aroma of sweet malt, coffee, chocolate, molasses, raisins. Flavors of the same. Nicely hopped and roasty, but with a definite sweetness in the finish. Full-bodied, and just enough carbonation. A reasonable alcohol bite at the end. No need to say more. Just fabulous.

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Photo of GeezLynn
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

2010 bottle.

A: Out the bottle like black crude. Dark brown head settles to the glass edges. High abv. shows.
S: Dense maltyness, licorice, tobacco, and a little fruitiness. A little earthy.
T: loads of black androasted malts. Shows more coffee than chocolate. Molasses is assertive. Easily discernible red-wine fruitiness melds nicely with the malt kind of like a dark chocolate-covered raisin. Light sweetness, with alcohol is barely discernible for 12+%.
M: Medium bodied, somewhat syrupy. Good mouth-coat, although carbonation is a bit prickly.

Fantastic beer, though not your typical American imperial stout with the assertive fruit and wine attributes. Very interesting, yet very drinkable for the abv. Only weakness for me was the carbonation/mouthfeel, but this is a beer I’d grab at any opportunity.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Ale Arsenal. From notes. Reviewed 27 June 2015.

Dark, thick, and light-absorbing.
It smells boozy and portentous. Dark malt and licorice.
It's amazing. Dark roasty dry. Very dry. Hops maybe? Molasses. Incredibly complex and rich and interesting. What a great beer.
Spicy and fun.
Reminiscent of another MS favorite, Barfly, but I think I prefer this from the keg. Highly recommended.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into large snifter - thanks to brystmar - 2012 bottle

Viscous opaque blackness in the glass with a bubbled dark brownie colored head resting on top. Thick collar of tanned retention with spotty lacing left on the glass.

Smoky and sweet in the nose, driven by a combination of maple syrup, chocolate cake and bourbon. Oak, dark fruit, coffee and vanilla bean with toffee and roasted dark malts. Warm and boozy.

Slick and sweet up front with bourbon warmth, cocoa powder and dark chocolate bark. Vanilla beans with caramel and toffee, layered on a maple syrup base. Oaky and warm with a thick, robust malt backbone. Touches of tobacco and red wine with roasted coffee beans. Multiple layers of flavor and malt continue to evolve while drinking, leading into a boozy and sweet finish.

Full bodied, medium carbonation, creamy and sticky on the tongue. I've tasted this a couple times before, but this was my first time enjoying the better part of a bottle and I couldn't be happier with this. Wonderfully deep and warm with plenty of rich bourbon and chocolate, finished off with sticky maple syrup and vanilla. I'd seek this out again in a second.

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Photo of cbros
4.48/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a snifter. Has 12.7% ABV, so I'm assuming this is a 2010(year it was bought) vintage.

Pours an oppressive deep black with a 1 finger dirty tan head. The notes I am picking up in the nose are of tobacco, whiskey, and a sweet oaky presence. The taste of this beerbrings forth the aforementioned tobacco and warmth of the whiskey. A very smooth drinking high gravity beer.

I've been sitting on this beer for over a year and I believe it was definitely worth the wait.

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Photo of corby112
4.48/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage generously shared by shadowane.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without a hint of lighter color when held to a light and a 1.5 finger frothy dark mocha head with good retention, slowly fading into a lasting ring. Sporadic splotches and chunks of lacing left behind.

Sweet, slightly roasted aroma with hints of roasted coffee bean, silky chocolate, honey, molasses, bittersweet dark chocolate, tobacco and cedar. Slightly leathery with some earthy oak tannis as well as some faint vanilla. The barrel character is evident but not over powering in the nose letting the other scents shine through.

Chewy medium body that's on the fuller end with a slightly dry, bitter hop presence and a very roasted malt character. Deep roasted flavor up front with silky bittersweet dark chocolate, coffee/espresso bean and oatmeal. This is countered by a nice creamy lactic presence, that along with the molasses and honey, adds complexity and fullness to the palate. This gives this beer it's viscosity and sweetness and compliments the earthy oak very nicely. The ABV is excellently masked with little to no heat making it incredibly quaffable. There is subtle heat and warmth in the finish but it's very faint. It's unbelievable that this beer is 12.7%. would have guessed under ten percent. Insanely drinkable at this strength.

Overall, I was very impressed with this beer and thought that it was much more complex, flavorful and drinkable than the 09 Kate the Great which was also opened tonight. Highly recommended!

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Photo of afksports
4.48/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Holy cow the Ravens are drinking a crazy good beer! I'm beating the Chiefs in the fourth quarter with CooperEllis. Next up is a 2010 Dark Lord from Three Floyds, but this baby from Midnight Sun may stay more interesting than this NFL beatdown that's happening at the moment.

While the Chiefs lose, this beer pours a black and viscous body with a brown almost purple lacing that clings to the glass like Spiderman. Not a heady pour, but that may be due to the oak barrel aging. Otherwise this baby is sexy as hell. It's smell is a little subdued. Dark fruits, raisins, chocolate, malts and booze. The taste is ridiculous, with the smell really coming alive. It's also got the oak of the aging, and a huge warm wallop on the palate.

I'm loving how it feels in the mouth, and it's tasty like an exceptional dessert. My only complaint is the bottle's gone too soon. Thanks to my trading partner for hooking this up from Alaska. It's exceptional.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'09 bottle that Buckeyeboy busted out recently... I also shared one with SAS too about the same time period... thanks homies.

Dark brown 2 finger head... viscous looking black brew... fantastic retention and lacing.

Nose is a long "sniffer"... takes a while to wrap my mind around the massive complex aromas.... nothing is overdone and everything including the barrels is well integrated. Deep dark malts with no char.. just dark chocolate and slight whaffs of vanilla and bourbon.. caramel/burnt sugar..

Flavor has a touch more actual "oak" than the nose and some dark cherry cordial plays well with the big stout notes.. bits of French Roast and something that I can only describe as brewers licorice .. plush body and a lite carbonation.

Very yummy... top shelf. Awesome that we've been getting these into Boise. Thanks to Jeremy, Steven, and Rick for helping me out.


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Photo of Nietzsches_Horse
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The molasses and maple syrup help to give this beer a little distinction among its barrel-aged stout peers. While I didn't find it quite as complex or smooth as the very best of them, this is delicious, and truly outstanding all the same.

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Photo of VashonGuy
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I've had Berserker a couple of times in the past month, most recently on tap, served next to Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, and Abraxas. I'm really impressed with this stout, but when I had it next to these other two world class Impy Stouts, it became clear to me that it's not quite in the same tier as the other two. Berserker has a wonderful collage of flavors, well described by lots of other reviewers here. But the whole is a little less than the sum of the parts. The flavors don't come together quite as harmoniously as the other two ImpyStouts, so Berserker winds up being just a bit of a muddle. It's a glorious muddle to be sure, but not quite a masterpiece. I'd never turn down a glass or a bottle, however!!!

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

this is an amazing beer, and one i have been seeking out for a long time, stoked to finally get into it! i loved it, but i was expecting it to be a little heavier on the maple, but its amazing. very strong but not overly thick or syrupy in texture. i think it has a lot of nuance and layers, smoke, tobacco, maple, coffee, heavy roast and char, no barrel required. its not quit black in color, and holds its rich lathery tan head pretty well, and we drink this one rather slowly, allowing it to warm up and evolve. strong chocolate notes, molasses, raisin, even cherry for a moment in the middle. i wanted a little more maple, but this is way more complex with maple as one component rather than a dominating element. the roast on the barley is strong, and its cool with the sweet maple, also very earthy with a hint of smoke near the finish, drives a little bitterness into it. not super rich in feel for what it is, not overly heavy, this seems a little less intimidating than i thought it would be, sort of smooth and gentle going down with its alcohol really well hidden. really a beer of incredible depth, pipe tobacco arising in the finish, long and mellow, deep wintery beer, makes sense it comes from alaska, it has that kind of vibe to it. impressive quality, i could always go for more maple, but they have obviously done an amazing job with this, more complex than most of these huge stouts, even without the barrel!

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Photo of Scarfer_Brad
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours almost jet black with a large dense dark brown head. after the head goes down (takes a bit, left with a small halo

smell of chocolate coffee and a sweet whiskey

delicious, can taste the coffee, molasses and a bit of bourbon

nice and thick low carb. smooth

a great beer was a 2014 would def look for again

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Photo of Scotchboy
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage bomber shared by my brother, poured into a New Belgium Globe...

A: Viscous pour, dark dense and opaque body with a very dark mocha colored head and quite a bit of lacing.

S: Molasses and bourbon qualities right off the bat, oak is pretty prominent as well, dark chocolate and rich milk chocolate, some sweet boozy alcohol but hardly any for a young 2012 bottle thats this big. Roast character is buried, sweetness is upfront.

T: You're hit with nice rich bourbon qualities and molasses sweetness right away, with notes of light vanilla and oak, and the darkest caramel you can imagine, rich chocolate notes, and the maple sweetness mixes well with the sweet boozy notes and caramel and molasses. Faint hint of licorice, and again there are really only light roasted coffee notes.

MF: Creamy and viscous mouthfeel, not quite as full bodied as I'd hoped it would be, there is a dryness on the back end that may be the alcohol.

O: Pretty awesome. Not sure how it ages (I'm sure it would mellow out just fine) but right now its drinking exactly the way I think a BA stout should.

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Photo of cestlavie
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was expecting this to be infected, as it was a 2012. Lucky for me, I had put it in my fridge the day I got it, and apparently any infection was not able to develop in the bottle!

A: jet black, viscous, motor oil. little to no head.

S: Dark Chocolate, fudge, Maple Syrup, bourbon, burnt sugar

T: Cacao nibs, dark fudge, bakers chocolate, Maple syrup, burnt sugar, creme brulee

M: Full bodied, very viscous, motor oil. seriously thick, but not like Bourbon County...

O: Great beer, was not expecting to get to enjoy this... went in thinking it was going to be a drain pour. Good thing I gave it a pour before dumping it! Moral? If you hear somethings infected, just put it in the fridge for 2 years.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a goblet, the beer pours jet black, like oil, with a slow formation of a dark tan surface coating of head that quickly recedes into a sparse coating in the shape of a Rorschach inkblot. This one looks like a hummingbird. Anyway, there is some carbonation action throughout the body, and the tan coloring makes it very visible. Aromas of molasses, maple, char, smoke, and chocolate. This smells like an early winter camping trip. Flavors are rich and sweet forward, with chocolate and maple bursting forth like candy on the tongue. Cloyingly sweet, but a heavy coffee backbone provides the bitterness needed to balance everything out. Smoke and roast highlights round the edges throughout, and hints of cream and wood character provide some levity. The body is light, but still creamy and smooth, almost whipped. The aftertaste is more to the bitter side, with coffee, chocolate, and roast blending with some of the booze and wood characteristics. Slick, coating finish that leaves a subtle bitterness blend of coffee and chocolate. This is a great beer!

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Photo of beerhan
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-black as night, completely opaque. Half-finger dark brown head that remains.

S-lots of toffee, maple, wood, bourbon,

T-dark chocolate and oak up front. more subtle bourbon tones follow with a dry finish.

M-little to no carbonation and very rich. Thick beer

O-Really nice offering here. Although they may be different styles, I prefer arctic devil to this one. The alcohol does catch up on this one and is pretty hard to have more than a small pour.

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Photo of CHickman
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12.7% ABV listed on bottle: Pours a sinister black color with a creamy 1-2 finger brown head that was full of tiny bubbles and faded with the spotty foamy lacing sliding down the glass. After a few minutes it looks like a glass full of motor oil.

The initial wave of sweetness includes molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, toffee, caramel, red wine, cocoa powder, dark fruit like raisins, then the booze which is a cross between rum and bourbon. Earthy notes and some hints of hops want to come through but get smacked out of the way by the bourbon and molasses. I let the bottle warm up for at least 30 minutes so the nose allowed for a wonderfully complex mix of all the flavors above that didn't cross over into cloyingly sweet.

Taste is very close to the aroma with the strong sweetness up front that includes molasses, maple syrup, toffee, brown sugar, caramel, red wine and or oak barrels, charred wood, s'mores, cocoa powder, dark fruit like raisins, plums and chocolate covered raisins, vanilla, coffee grinds and very rich dark chocolate. After the sweetness fades a bit the booze slides in, which like the nose is a cross between rum and bourbon with some very rich red wine mixed in. Initially I thought the molasses and syrup aspects made this too sweet, but as it continued to warm up the complexities brought out more malty sweetness, candied sugar, light peppery and leafy spices and fresh pumpernickel bread. The booze is present but the ABV is not a factor and blends in quite well with the fine mix of flavors.

Mouthfeel is creamy, slick and smooth with a velvety feel that slides across the tongue with mild carbonation, a medium to chewy body, a slight bitterness that resembles a bold coffee, and then the trailing sweetness that doesn't cross over into sugary sweet and cloyingly nasty and keeps it aggressive with a lot of char, booze, oaky notes, bourbon, molasses and syrup which whip around in a tornado of complex flavors. The fruit and hops managed to sneak in a little balance to level out this hard hitting stout, which is very tasty and incorporates the alcohol very well. A really enjoyable slow sipper, will seek this out again.

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Photo of Tiklmelmo
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz poured into a duck rabbit snifter.

Big thanks to gford217 for this secret santa want.

A - Pitch black. Viscous crude oil black. Tiny bit of some of the darkest head Ive ever seen on a beer that dissipates quickly.

S - Sweet molasses and maple with a hint of bourbon. Raisins, black cherries, and a little bit of chocolate. Doesn't explode out of the glass, but nicely complex.

T - Starts out feeling sweet with a lot of dark fruity maple. That gives way to bittersweet chocolate and some bourbon alcohol heat. Finishes surprisingly dryer and leaves a pretty bitter aftertaste. As this breathes a bit the bitterness gets more muted.

M - Nicely coating mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Pretty spot on for a RIS.

D - Definitely some booze heat here, but there's enough going on that I keep going back for another sip, then another, then another. Deceptively drinkable.

At first I was a little turned off by the bitterness in the aftertaste, but after half a snifter, and letting it breathe a bit, this was a really nice sipper. Definitely top notch.

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Photo of rye726
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Recent vintage, 12.7%

Pours a thick oily black with a silky espresso head. Nose has fudge, molasses, coffee, oak, caramel, vanilla, red wine, spicy booze, roasty malts and dark pitted fruits. Taste is nice, but lack depth and complexity found in nose. Full creamy body, nice finish. Drinks well.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to Ryan (RIP Dunt) for sharing this a while back. Taken from notes.

Appearance – Pours an extremely dark black into a snifter. Zero light comes through, and about a finger and a half of dark mocha colored head can be seen that dissipates slowly.

Smell – Lots of oak, cocoa, molasses, earthy tobacco, licorice, dark fruits like prunes, and slight red wine.

Taste – Very similar to the aroma. A definite red wine flavor mixed with dark and bittersweet cocoa/chocolate. A nice roasted dry malt flavor midway which gets a bit sweeter from the dark fruits.

Overall – A very good beer that balances the red wine, bitterness, and sweetness perfectly. Not overly sweet, just enough dryness/char/roast, and the nice wine flavors imparted from the barrel aging. A stout right up my alley and one I was thankful to try and would trade for in the future.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012. 12.7% ABV

Pours a viscus black, dark tan head, frothy, lacy, and creamy.

Aroma of coffee, fudge, vanilla, oak, bourbon, booze, and chocolate covered raisins.

Roasted taste, with cocoa, and touches of espresso. Light bourbon, with maple-y finish, oak and sap. Alcohol is there, but svelt all things considered.

It's vicious. Thick, chewy, and syrupy. Coats, sticks and has epic substance.

Can't deny this pedigree!

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Photo of airohead2001
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage, 12.7% ABV. HUGE thanks to glazeman for this one - I always love an opportunity to taste a true rarity that I may never see again.

A - Great looking stout. Black, black, black with a coffee brown 2 finger head that quickly fades to a ring that lines my snifter. Looks thick and syrupy, just as it should.

S - Almost perfect - chocolate, booze, coffee, vanilla nuttiness, and bourbon. Wow.

T - A big sweet stout without the overly harsh bitter finish. Different - I like it. The taste is very similar to the nose - chocolate up front with some dark fruits as well. Next comes just a tad of bourbon. This is followed by a slightly bitter finish that brings out some nice coffee undertones. Complex and delicious.

M - Good. Appropriate thickness, but for nearly 13%, I could always use it just a little bit thicker.

D - Outstanding. Not too bitter and not too boozy. No EtOH burn. I wish I had more of this. I really good drink it over and over. It is just awesome. So smooth.

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Photo of sukwonee
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is amazing and it's ready to drink right now, imo. This is from the 2013 release.

A: Thick thick black motor oil like body. It pours similar to Hunah. Mocha head about a finger thick, leaving good amount of lacing.

S: RIght off the bat, you can smell the vanilla, oak. Brown sugar, honey, Some alcohol. I would say though this is a huge bourbon barrel forward smelling beer - and I meant bourbon barrel forward as having toasted coconut, vanilla, oak like smell. I also smell some burnt malt.

T: Similar to the nose except I can taste the honey a lot more. Maybe the maple syrup too. It's a tad bit on the sweet side but it works here. You can the tasted coconuts, vanilla, dark chocolate, and some faint hops. Very very well balanced and alcohol is well hidden.

M: Thick, chewy, and awesome. That's all.

O: Very good stuff. I am glad I got to try an uninfected bottle.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at a recent tasting, alongside continuous streaming of the Berserker scene from Clerks. Thanks, Ben!

A: Poured near black with a very dark head. Appeared nice and viscous.

S: Very rich all around. Not getting too much of the maple and probably wouldn't know it was there if I wasn't told, but the there is definitely some molasses and a bit of dark fruit alongside roasted malt and chocolate.

T: Similar to the nose but with the addition of some black licorice and a bit of oak, adding in a touch of vanilla. Very nice taste and quite complex.

M: Nice and full without too much of an alcohol kick to it.

D: Very good. Midnight Sun always impresses, and this is no exception. Especially drinkable alongside the aforementioned Clerks scene, which will forever give me very fond memories of drinking this one.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Recently making it a priority to try more Midnight Sun beers has certainly paid off with this serious Stout. If sweet, roasty, and fruity are what you're after-- search over.

Berserker begins with a silky and viscous pour, not un-like motor oil. About as dark brown as it can get without becomming black. Completely opaque. The deep tan head is short-lived, probably because of the heavy sugars and alcohols inhibit such structure. Ink-stained legging clings to the glass while forgoing any lacing. The beer falls still half-way through the glass.

The typical aromas of espresso, heavy charred grains, and deep syrups attack the olfactories. What is surprising is the complex fruitiness of red wines, plumbs, and currants. These fruity aromas give this Russian Imperial Stout a healthy dose of English Olde Ales and red wine barrels.

Flavors once again favor the roast with the bold coffee, cocoa, and acrid charred grains. Heavy sweetness of molassas, maple syrups, and malt sugars make a dramatic impact on taste but surprisingly carry away in a well-attenuated fashion in the end. Deep flavors of ripe stone fruits (grapes, plubs, berries, and currants) give an unexpected variety to the stout, but is well received- keeping the beer from suffering a one-dimentional dullness. Bourbon and rum alcohols come to mind as the sweetness and roast fall, taking the beer into a bitter and alcoholic finish.

Very rich, full, and robust up front- this is one big beer! But the low carbonation helps the beer to go from full and chewy to fleeting and drinkable in the end. Perhaps a bit astringent and vinous in the finish but the complexity and roast character is more than enough to compensate for barrel-aged tannins.

Berserker is a wonderful beer for the finale of any session. It's balance of sweet, roast, fruit, and more sweet reminds me a lot of New Holland's Night Tripper. Many thanks go out to BrewsB4Shrews for sharing this beer!

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Berserker Imperial Stout from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.32 out of 5 based on 1,151 ratings.
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